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  • Design Credit: Elizabeth Roberts Architec̦ture & Design, Photo Credit: Dustin Aksland. Dimensions: H 47.5 in. x W 36.25 in.
  • Design Credit: Timothy Godbold, Photo Credit: Karl Simone. Dimensions: H 47.5 in. x W 36.25 in.
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Willem de Kooning
Woman in a Rowboat

1964

Price Upon Request

About

A painting by Willem de Kooning. "Woman in a Rowboat" is an abstract, oil on paper laid on masonite painting executed in a lush and swirling palette primarily of greens, whites, beiges and yellow and depicting an abstracted, nude woman in a boat by Post War artist Willem de Kooning. "Woman in a Rowboat" is a seminal work by de Kooning that has a new fluidity which relates to his next major series of Woman paintings which he began in 1964. Signed lower left, "de Kooning." Provenance: Allan Stone Gallery, New York Private Collection, New York Private Collection, Arizona Exhibition: North Hampton, Smith College Museum of Art; Cambridge, The New Gallery, Charles Hayden Memorial Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Willem de Kooning: a Retrospective from Public and Private Collections, April – June 1965 (Cambridge only) New York, Allan Stone Gallery, De Kooning/Cornell, February – March 1965 Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, American Paintings, September - October 1966, cat. no. 26 Dublin, The Royal Dublin Society, Rosc'67:The Poetry of Vision, November – December 1967, p. 201, illustrated Detroit, J.L. Hudson, Willem de Kooning: Three Decades of Painting, March – April 1968, no. 31 (exhibition checklist) Easthampton, Gild Hall, Works from 1951 – 1981, May – July 1981, cat. no 21 (exhibition checklist) Literature: Thomas B. Hess, "De Kooning's New Women," Art News, March 1965, p. 37 (text reference) Exh. Cat., Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Willem de Kooning: Paintings, 1994, fig. 15, p. 15, illustrated Exh. Cat., Allan Stone Gallery, Willem de Kooning:Liquefying Cubism, 1994, p. VII, illustrated (installation photograph from the 1965 De Kooning/Cornell exhibition) Exh. Cat., Museum of Modern Art, Willem de Kooning: A Retrospective, 2011, fig. 7, p. 356, illustrated. John Elderfield, “de Kooning: A Retrospective,” Museum of Modern Art – New York, 2011- 2012, p. 356

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About the Artist

Willem de Kooning

As the de facto leader of the New York avant-garde art movement of the 1950s known as Abstract Expressionism, Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning blended figuration and abstraction in a revolutionary manner that has resonated for decades. His best-known paintings, which were most often of women but gesturally abstract, were unique and incredibly influential at the time. Today, de Kooning is widely considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

De Kooning trained in fine and commercial arts at the Rotterdam Academy in his hometown of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, before immigrating to the United States in 1926. His first job in America was as a house painter in New Jersey, and the period left an indelible impression on him as he brought large brushes, loose strokes and fluid paints into his work as an artist. He also worked on public murals under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program in the 1930s. De Kooning’s studies weren’t executed but they included some of his first abstractions, which showed the influence of like-minded artists as well as the music of the Jazz Age. His broad foundation in classical drawing and physical labor are evident even in the most abstract of his works, which amounted to a fusion of Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism.

It was in New York that de Kooning found the space and an abundance of inspiration to pursue art full time. Surrounded by prominent artists like Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Lee Krasner and Fernand Léger, de Kooning drew from the freedom and boldness with which they all approached their work. In 1943, he married Elaine de Kooning, a versatile and immensely talented New York painter with a significant role in the Abstract Expressionist movement.

A major motif in de Kooning’s work is the deconstructed female form. A collection of paintings demonstrative of this is now known as his “Woman” series of the early 1950s, which remains controversial more than half a century later. Drawing inspiration from photography in magazines and using vivid colors and expressive brushstrokes to unforgettable effect, de Kooning depicted his subjects as grotesque, sexualized and loosely abstracted forms, which many critics deemed angry and misogynistic. But it is this very fearlessness in visual and conceptual experimentation that made de Kooning a crucial figure of Abstract Expressionism.

Today, de Kooning’s work is among the most coveted art in the world. His Interchange (1955), with its bold lines and shapes executed in primary colors, is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

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